Not only are your teeth essential for chewing and predigesting your food, they can affect your appearance and the way others see you. While your dentist plays an important part in your oral health, there’s a lot you can do at home when it comes to keeping your teeth in tip-top condition and looking good.
Here are a few tips for keeping your teeth clean throughout the day and while you sleep:
Brush your teeth just before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up. While it’s okay to brush lightly at other times of the day, these two times of the day are crucial because they are at the start and end of your nightly sleep cycle.
When you sleep, your saliva output drops – otherwise your sleep would be interrupted by saliva constantly running down your throat or out your mouth. As a result, you may notice your mouth feels dry and your partner may notice your bad breath when you wake up.
With less saliva to rinse away food residue during the night, your mouth can become the ideal breeding ground for oral bacteria while you sleep – i.e. warm and moist. Ensuring your mouth is clean and free of food residue before and after sleep can help keep oral bacterial activity to a minimum.
Rinse your mouth out with water after meals and snacks. When you eat your oral PH lowers and becomes more acidic. This weakens your tooth enamel, which means you shouldn’t brush your teeth for at least 30 min if possible. But what if you are in a hurry to go out? Try rinsing your mouth out with water (or an alcohol-free mouthwash) to dislodge any food particles or residue caught in your teeth.
Another option is to chew sugar-free non-citric chewing gum which has been clinically proven to remove significant amounts of bacteria from your mouth.
Eat more foods that help clean your teeth as you eat. There are a lot of foods that can harm your teeth. In fact, the residue left on your tooth surfaces after eating these foods is what oral bacteria feed on, which can lead to plaque, tooth decay and cavities.
However, there are foods that actually clean your teeth as you eat them. While nothing beats brushing your teeth, eating these teeth-friendly foods are good ways to compliment or finish off a meal to ensure that there is minimal food residue left behind on your teeth.
Teeth-friendly foods and drinks that help clean your teeth include: apple, pineapples, strawberries, carrots, celery, leafy greens, onions, broccoli, seeds & nuts, green tea and water!